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Well that's a whole other story. My collection still fits in about 2 1/2 of these...

...though I doubt I'll collect old computers.

As for the core memory, we have more traditional art on our walls, mostly photos my wife took printed on canvas and framed. (She has a good eye.) But if I ever did get my hands on one I'm sure she'd be OK with it. It's unique enough that it's interesting.

She's bidding on ebay right now for some old iron gears. No idea what she's going to do with them yet, but I'm sure they'll end up on the wall or mantle in some form or another. Man those things are pricey!!!  


She's bidding on ebay right now for some old iron gears. No idea what she's going to do with them yet, but I'm sure they'll end up on the wall or mantle in some form or another. Man those things are pricey!!!

Core memory isn't cheap, either! I paid "scrap value" (ie, estimated value for the precious metals in them) for the few pieces of it that I have; I have the board that hangs on the wall (32K - the actual cores are behind a metal plate and can't be seen; even if you could view them, you'd need a magnifying glass to really make them out), plus I have a very old bakelite core-memory "cube" with cores large enough to see with the naked eye. If you attempted to buy either of these pieces on Ebay, they would likely fetch a good price as collectors pieces (just about anything computer-related pre-1980 or so is going up in value rapidly).

One of the things that influenced our purchasing of our house was the shop space; its not as large as I would like (if it were double the size, I could add a small metal working section!), but it suits me well for everything I normally do.

I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


Dec 21, 2010, 08:13 pm Last Edit: Dec 21, 2010, 08:59 pm by focalist Reason: 1
My dad had been a Navy engineer (propulsion systems), so up until he retired in the 70's, he was gone much of the time ('Nam and SE Asia).. but when the ships would come in, they would close schools-- eveyone's dad would get home when the battle group would come home.  Better than Christmas, because they had been in Japan and such all that time, without a lot to spend money on, so military kids tended to get good gifts, many of them technology as tech is small and space on ships is at a premium.  My mom was a schoolteacher, so she saw anything educational as basically a required item.

Though we wouldn't find out WHY for another twenty years, I was a sickly kid, very small for my age-- Crohns causes developmental stunting due to the inherent malnutrition.  Since I was sick and very weak much of the time, sports weren't my thing.. but intellectual things were.  Even sick, I could get lost in taking apart one thing or another, or making something.  I read nonstop, ripped apart anything with a cord, browsed Allied Electronics catalogs and religiously waited for the next Circuit Cellar info from Mr. Mimms.  As these were educational things in their eyes, they tried to help me along as best they could in a town of 1,500 that was spitting distance to Canada.  Once a month, my mom would even drive me almost an hour so I could go to Radio Shack among other places.

I will take a moment right now and tell ALL of you:  

[size=14]If your family does not own a CH4 (Flammable Gas) detector and either heat with Natural gas, Propane, or other flammable gases- or have a close neighbor who does- PLEASE get one.  If you truly cannot afford one, email me.  I can't help directly, but I may be able to steer you towards some folks who can help.[/size][/b]

I am passionate about this.. because on a cool September morning in 1982, when I was fifteen, the world ended.  A propane explosion destroyed our home and all contents, and killed both of my parents.  A CH4 detector (expensive in those days, but under $50 now) would have saved my parents their lives- and prevented three kids from a chain of events that nobody should endure.  Get a detector, and keep fresh batteries in it.  Nobody should see the air catch fire.  Not many do and live to warn others- and I am one who has.  Sadly, that event and subsequent related events derailed a lot of things for quite some time.  It wasn't until years later when I had my own place that I really picked things up again.. I wasn't exactly in a good headspace for a long time.  

For years, I kept things, meaning to eventually tear them apart and twiddle with- just never got around to it.  Only now am I opening some boxes of stuff I had ferreted away a solid decade ago..  Arduino has actually REDUCED the amount of tech-hoarding I do, because now I'm much more particular in what I want to keep.

After I got sick and could no longer work, I began dusting off old hobbies and diversions that had entertained me in years past.  It was only this past summer that I found Arduino and got back into the hardware side of things, after being mainly a software guy for years.  What's funny is that the simplicity of Arduino for some reason really reminds me a LOT of those early days back around '80. Sometimes as I'm trying to figure out a circuit, I find myself happily sitting on that farmhouse bed in rural Wisconsin, a teenager with a screwdriver and a lot of curiosity.  A lot of you kids, that's where you are now.  Don't get derailed, and that curiosity and intelligence will carry you far.

So where am *I* in encouraging my own rug rats?  My son is getting an Arduino and a fairly decent complement of prototyping components and such for Xmas.  He's already a fairly decent Python scripter, as well as basic PHP.  You'll be seeing him here within the next few weeks, I'm sure!  In some ways, I'm jealous.. I can't wait to see that disturbing level of satisfaction that comes from "BLINK" when he uploads and runs it the first time... like all of us, he'll be siting there grinning like he just cured all of mankinds ills with one swipe of the hand.  After that, he- like the rest of us- will be hooked.


Well the only way I can describe that is nice.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your parents, but the fact you have re-discovered electronics and your memories of it through arduino makes a great story.

I think your kid will love you in times to come for getting him into the world of microcontrollers.
The satisfaction will be there no doubt but whether that will be a burden or a blessing to you will be something to find out. ;D
You might find the next few years are devoid of silence or darkness as he learns about peizo's and 'night rider'. Perhaps even things trying to trip you up driving round the hallways (although it is likely you'll be driving that too - terrorising any other members of your household ;))

I know what you mean about jealous. I see these kids at 13 or younger getting started in programming and electronics and I wish I had started sooner.

I just hope that some day I can say I have made a valuable contribution to electronics or microcontrollers that will not be forgotten.
You can safely reside now knowing you have done that by introducing someone else to it.  :)



Dec 22, 2010, 12:58 am Last Edit: Dec 22, 2010, 01:10 am by focalist Reason: 1
I just hope that some day I can say I have made a valuable contribution to electronics or microcontrollers that will not be forgotten.

God Member
Posts: 4021

I'd say 4,000 posts (and counting), the majority either helping someone or providing encouragement to new folks is a MAJOR contribution.. in my book, that's a pretty big contribution- maybe one of the larger contributions one can make to an intellectual effort.  Fame and fortune have mostly to do with being in the right place and knowing the right people- go for happy and useful, you'll be less stressed in the long run.

Do not ever underestimate the value of teaching.  Ever.  It's one of the best ways to learn.. because to teach a thing, you have to understand a thing.  If you teach others, a little of whatever they do is because of you.  I've run into former students of mine (taught at a tech school for a bit) amd feel more than a little pride as they tell about their current careers and accomplishments.

Keep up the good work, you're well on your way to your goal, whether you know it or not.. :)


Heh, thanks.

Probably half of them or so might be helpful. I find myself helping people more on IRC now...

Yeah I do try but I have bigger plans than just helping people on this forum. And other plans that are completely unrelated to electronics!



Don't knock your contributions. Helping others is one of the best things a person can do, I wish I was in a position to do ha;f as well.


i am 13. I got my first arduino last christmas and my parents buy me things because the want me to save up for stuff when im older :L



Liker jermey said what do u think it would take to make them under stand that it is productive to my life and career.

I would point out that they spend money (I presume) on other parts of your education, such as school, school books, clothes to wear to school and so on. No doubt they regard this as money well spent, as the better educated you are, the more opportunities you have in later life, generally speaking.

So, learning electronics is another form of education. It is great that you are motivated to do it in your spare time, not everyone would be.

Even if they don't see this initially, if you cheerfully make something useful out of your own funds, and then demonstrate what it can do, you might be in a position to say something like "if only I had another $20 I could add on a temperature sensor that warns if the pond is about to freeze" (or whatever applies in your circumstances).

Or you might simply demonstrate that you are serious about this, and that the money isn't going to be wasted.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics

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